Watch the video above to hear about the racism that the Windrush Generation faced every day. This ranged from snide looks and verbal abuse to violent behaviour. You will also hear from subsequent generations about their experience of racism. 

WARNING: This video contains the use of a racist term at 3:51. It has not been edited out for reasons of authenticity, and as an opportunity to introduce conversations about language, and the power of words to both harm and to heal.

Racism and the Windrush Generation

Racism means discriminating against someone because of their race. 

In the 1940s, many Caribbean islands were under British rule as part of the British Empire. Britain was called the 'mother country' and children grew up learning about it in schools. Because of this, many Caribbean people that came to Britain had a strong sense of their Britishness and had high expectations that they would be welcomed and supported by the 'mother country'. 

However, as we have seen when learning about the contribution to the economy of the Windrush Generation, they were not always welcomed; British people were often ignorant about the British empire and did not know that Caribbean migrants were also British. This meant that the Windrush generation and their children were often the victims of racist abuse and negative attitudes derived from ignorance.

As seen in the video, this is not just a historical problem that faced the Windrush Generation. Racism is unfortunately still present in today's society.

The Windrush Scandal

In 2018, Windrush was headline news in the UK as it emerged that the British government was exposed for wrongfully removing members of the Windrush generation from the UK. Many of those affected had been born British subjects and had arrived in the UK before 1973. It is estimated that thousands of people have been affected by this scandal. 

Many of the Windrush Generation travelled to the UK as children, using their parents passports so did not have official travel documents. In 1971, The Immigration Act gave Commonwealth citizens that were living in the UK indefinite leave to remain. However, the UK's Home Office did not keep a record of who was granted leave to remain or issue any paperwork to confirm this and in 2010, destroyed the landing cards that belonged to Windrush migrants.

After changes to immigration law in 2012, a number of long-term UK residents were wrongly detained, lost their jobs or homes, denied benefits that they were entitled to and in some cases, wrongfully deported. The scandal came to public attention after a campaign by Caribbean diplomats, British Members of Parliament and charities. Many victims of the Windrush scandal are still waiting on compensation. 

The subject of the Windrush generation, and immigration in general, remains a highly politicized one.

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